To Kill a Mockingbird named America's favourite novel
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To Kill a Mockingbird has been named America's best-loved novel.
Harper Lee's 1960s classic has been awarded the title by Public Broadcasting Service, racking up a massive 242,275 votes out of around 4.3 million between May and October of this year.
The win follows a marathon eight-episode series called ‘The Great American Read’, the purpose of which was to discover the country’s 100 favourite novels.
This coming-of-age classic has been popular ever since its first edition, and was made into a hit film starring Gregory Puck just two years after it hit the bookshelves. Since then it has been translated into over 40 different languages, with over 40 million copies having being purchased across the globe.
Harper Lee wrote the novel as a reflection of her observations of her childhood neighbourhood in Monroeville, Alabama.
The story itself is set in Maycomb, Alabama, during the time of the Great Depression and when racism and discrimination were a major part of society. It is told through the eye of six year old Jean Louise Finch (Scout), whose father Atticus has managed to secure a stable income for his family through his occupation as a lawyer.
Atticus Finch is later called on to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, against an unjustified charge of raping a white woman.
The novel follows Jean Louise’s Father as he fights to prove Robinson’s innocence. The reader is left with a true sense of the injustice of the system as Robinson is found guilty and shot dead while trying to escape from prison.
The public were asked to vote on the 100 finalists, naming Harper Lee’s novel as the final winner.
“I’m not surprised at all that Americans chose "To Kill a Mockingbird" as their best-loved novel, host Meredith Vieira said. "It is a personal favorite of mine – one that truly opened my eyes to a world outside of my own. Harper Lee’s iconic work of literature is cherished for its resonance, its life lessons and its impact on one’s own moral compass.”
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series took second place, with J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books coming third.
Harper Lee published her second novel Go Set a Watchman in 2015. The novel was originally thought of as a sequel and received mixed reviews due to its portrayl of the heroic Atticus as a racist. Now, the second novel is recognised as a draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.
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